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Just Your Ordinary Wig Night Out: The Story Behind the Event

by Borderstan.com February 14, 2013 at 12:00 pm 0

From Dito Sevilla. Email him at dito[AT]borderstan.com, follow him on Twitter @DitoDC.

"Wig Night Out"

Wig Night Out 2012. (Luis Gomez Photos)

We live in the greatest city in the world! Okay, maybe we do. After all, we have some of the nation’s worst traffic; we attract ignorant tourists who seem genetically inclined to block the escalators descending into the one of the world’s most disappointing transit systems, and our taxicabs stink, literally.

Our summers are hot, and they are humid. We lack a vote in Congress. President Kennedy called Washington, a city of Southern efficiency, and Northern charm — and right he was. We are not the nicest people on earth, certainly not the kindest, and even, it seems, almost 5% of us may be Republican voters.

One trip to the Department of Motor Vehicles will expose you to levels of efficiency that will make digging your own grave with a baby spoon seem productive — and desirable. But the fact is, it’s still the greatest city in the world because of us.

Washingtonians are highly educated, extremely tolerant, and generally pretty attractive. We are politically active, highly motivated, and very well read. Look, you’re reading this, aren’t you?

“Get Out Your Wigs”

The email read: “Get Out Your Wigs.”

Assuming that basically every gay man owns a wig, James said he’d like to fill the little bar at Floriana with friends — our friends — and just have a “wig night out” — just us, in wigs, with drinks, having fun, among friends; why not? Being no stranger to Washington’s multitudinous annual drag events, pageants, costume balls and other extravaganzas I consented immediately. How exciting, a drag party in the middle of the week; so much to do, so much to prepare, what heels to wear?

As the party has outgrown both the bar at Floriana and Level One, this year, our event will be held at JR’s Bar and Grill on Saturday, February 23 (17th and Church Streets NW).  We are expecting 250 generous, wig-clad attendees, and with their help, we hope to raise more than $10,000. For more information on Wig Night out, visit the Facebook event page.

“No, no, no…” said James, “it’s just your ordinary wig night out.”

Well, that sounded strange. No heels, no makeup, no dress?  I was confused.

“We’ll just be men in wigs!”  I had an image to protect, so I thought.

James insisted, it’s just your ordinary wig night, he kept saying, “because drag is too much work…”

Of course, but this is not just a bar I thought, it’s a restaurant, we have dinner customers… we call them ‘guests’ now. Are they not going to be startled by the sight of 10 men standing around in wigs? Drag, they might understand, but just wigs? People need a reason, don’t they?

The First Wig Night

Wig Night Out 2010 was upon us. Though back then, we just called it Wig Night. And it was just that; 10 men in assorted wigs, filling my little bar, enjoying a drink.

There was however one addition to the original plan. On the bar I placed a glass jar, which simply read “Donations.”

I had thought, that perhaps were anyone to inquire about the mid-week appearance of ten wig-clad gentlemen, rather than explain the point that there really was no point, well that it would just be easier to say that we were raising money for some wig-related cause. After all, it must have been a few years before people stopped asking thousands of women why they were jogging about the city in head-to-toe pink.

At any rate, the jar sat mostly ignored, until it didn’t. A lovely suburban couple had been sent to the bar to await their reservation when they wife, her name was Susan asked the question I had been awaiting: “Why, uh… are…?”

“Why are we in these wigs, you ask?” I launched into a completely fabricated account of this new tradition we began, where we wore wigs, and nothing more in order to look silly and raise awareness for assorted causes, and that we had chosen Locks of Love, a charity that provides… I couldn’t keep lying, because suddenly the unexpected happened.

Susan opened her purse, and began writing out a check, for $60 to Locks of Love, coupling it with another $40 in cash from her husband, placed it in the Jar. We had accidentally, on purpose began turning Jaime’s party, and my lies, into reality. That night all the men in wigs put a little something in that jar. Just over $230 was raised, by accident, on purpose. We had begun a tradition.

The 2011 party grew, and so did the donations. We broke the $1,000 mark and sent it off to our charity of choice, the Point Foundation, providers of financial support, mentoring, leadership training and hope to meritorious students who are marginalized due to sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression.

Last year’s WNO at Level One raised more than $5,000 — no longer by accident, and most certainly on purpose.

As the party has outgrown both the bar at Floriana and Level One, this year, our event will be held at JR’s Bar and Grill on Saturday, February 23 (17th and Church Streets NW).  We are expecting 250 generous, wig-clad attendees, and with their help, we hope to raise more than $10,000. For more information on Wig Night out, visit the Facebook event page.

Something tells me, it can be done, either by accident or on purpose. It’s just not your ordinary wig night out anymore.

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